26th December 2007
It is five past midnight on the Thursday night before Christmas. Brian and I are driving along a deserted outback highway. The moon reflects on the river as we rattle over the QLD/NSW border bridge. It has been a busy day. Behind the seat is a rifle. On the back of the ute are five freshly shot deer, $1500 worth of frozen seafood and 8kg of mangoes. In the glove box is our first Christmas present – a small pen light that shines a happy bee. All is good with the world.
BANG. “What the @#%!@ was that?”
The bang is followed by a horrific grinding noise – think knives in a blender.
“You’ve got to be kidding” (censored version).
We clamber out of the ute and peer into the blackness, but thankfully we have our Christmas present. However, the underbelly of a fully laden, frozen cargoed, grubby farm ute, at midnight, on a lonely highway, belching metal gristle and smoke; does not look any better illuminated by an animated bee!
Amazingly we manage to limp to a friend’s place. By 1am Brian and his mate have removed a wheel, removed a wheel hub, dropped the remains of the brake drum onto the workshop floor, re-assembled the lot and we are on our way – again.
By 3am we are 30km from home where we wake up a bloke with a chiller. We march five bloody carcases through his laundry and shoot through. By 4.30am we have unloaded the seafood and the mangoes, showered and hit the hay. By 8am the Coolatai Mob come searching for their prawns.